Mental Floss

Stanley Kubrick's Letters

Chris Higgins

The Telegraph has posted a series of letters and telegrams from Stanley Kubrick's archive. They are at turns bizarre, amusing, and revealing -- often showing his frank interactions with actors and studio representatives. Here's a sample of the correspondence related to 2001: A Space Odyssey:

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, 1968 The process of collaboration between Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke begins. March 31, 1964 Dear Mr Clarke, It's a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie. My main interest lies along these broad areas naturally assuming great plot and character. 1. The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life. 2. The impact (and perhaps even lack on impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on earth in the near future. 3. A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars. Would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?" He approaches Robert Shaw to play the Moon-Watcher character, eventually played by Daniel Richter. February 17, 1965 To Robert Shaw I am enclosing a sketch of an Australopithecine man-ape from Raymond Dark's "Adventures with the missing link", without wishing to seen unappreciative of your rugged and handsome countenance, I must observe there appears to be an incredible resemblance. Kubrick allows "cross plugging" for the film and asks companies to redesign their products for the future world of 2001. May 14, 1965 To an unnamed executive at MGM I have hired Roger Caras [Polaris Productions] to implement the plan to obtain co-operation and exploit cross plugging from companies such as General Electric, General Motors, etc. September 22, 1965 To Roger Caras Dear Roger We are badly in need of a mad computer expert who can be around and advise on dialogue and jargon to use in computer scenes. It should be someone who has his eye on the future of computers and not just a stick in the mud type. Can IBM assign someone from England to serve as this part-time liaison. Stanley.

Read the rest for a bunch of nice anecdotes. (Via Daring Fireball.)